Steele: Great chance to buy plants

Two major garden plant sales take place in Kelowna on Saturday, put on by Kelowna Garden Club and Okanagan Xeriscape Association.

Volunteers setting out plants for the Okanagan Xeriscape Association Plant Sale in the unH2O Xeriscape Demonstration Garden

Two big plant sales happen Saturday morning: the Kelowna Garden Club plant sale at Guisachan Gardens and the Okanagan Xeriscape Association xeriscape plant sale at the unH2O Xeriscape Garden in front of the H2O Aquatic Centre, 4075 Gordon Drive.

Both begin at 9 a.m. with the OXA’s event running until noon, the KGC’s event running until 1 p.m.

The xeriscape plants sell quickly so you might want to go there first.

Aside from very healthy, well-labelled plants, the xeriscape plant sale will have:

• Xeriscape experts and master gardeners to answer questions

• The Okanagan Basin Water Board’s Make Water Work program to encourage reduction in landscape irrigation and promote use of water-wise plants

• The Regional District of the Central Okanagan’s invasive plant books and other materials for pick up from the Master Gardener’s table

• John Waddington selling rare and unusual xeriscape plants

• The Border Free Bee program with information about their pollinator pasture project, native bees, and attracting pollinators to your garden

• SeedCo selling Okanagan native seeds

• Unless Market selling rain barrels

• Classic Compost selling mulch

The OXA will also be selling 2016 memberships to support the work of this not-for-profit organization. Membership benefits include:

• 10% discount at seven local nurseries

• 10% discount off OXA classes and workshops

• Free admission to member-only events: pruning workshops, xeriscape bicycle tour, fall plant swap and social

• An opportunity to learn by volunteering in the unH2O Garden

All 2016 OXA members’ names will also be entered into a free draw for a lovely collection of xeriscape plants donated by Waterwise Landscape Design. The winner will be drawn at the end of the sale.

Also watch for OXA plant photo cards, class registrations and our favourite xeriscape reference ‘Creating the Prairie Xeriscape’ by Sara Williams.

Each child who comes to the sale will be given a pot of chives to take home to plant in their garden to harvest for salads, etc.

Below  is a list of the plants for sale, not already mentioned in my recent columns:

• A star performer in the Mediterranean garden, Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’, an exceptionally long-blooming and well-behaved catmint, is a pollinator magnet.

For dry, part shade:

• Cushion Spurge (Euphorbia polychroma) has sulphur–yellow flowers now.

• Lungwort (Pulmonaria ‘Mrs. Moon’) has pink and blue flowers now, followed by large speckled leaves.

• Red Coral Bells (Heuchera sanguinea). May blooms attract hummingbirds.

• Lambs ears (Stachys ‘Helen von Stein’) large fuzzy leaves form a good ground cover or backdrop to other flowers.

• Barren strawberry (Waldesteinia fragarioides), a vigorous ground cover that spreads by runners.

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The Summerland Ornamental Gardens big, two-day plant sale is May 7 and 8, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., a great outing for Mother’s Day weekend.  For more info check out the website summerlandgardens.org.

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Final spring session for my xeriscape class is Wednesday, May 4 and 11. For more information or  to register online go to  okanaganxeriscape.org.

Gwen Steele is executive director of the non-profit Okanagan Xeriscape Association.